Your host for last night’s awards-season kickoff, Jerrod Carmichael, did not seem to walk the red carpet (none of our photo services have a shot of him there). This bums me out, because when he attended the Emmys, he wore skin as a shirt and accessorized with a massive furry coat, and I was hoping for a similarly OTT flex. He wore a flurry of outfits inside, though, including the nifty suit above, some regrettable satin and khaki, a white suit with a sheer turtleneck, and a beaded Bode top that looked a bit like if a bulletproof vest had a baby with Ana de Armas’s gown.

80th Annual Golden Globe Awards Rehearsal, Beverly Hilton, Los Angeles, California, USA - 08 Jan 2023

As Globes hosts go, I think we’re all mostly used to Tina and Amy and their barbs-with-a-beam, or the sneering beer-in-the-hand superiority of Ricky Gervais. Carmichael’s vibe was far from that. The above is from rehearsals, but it captures the unusual mood of how he began the show. Far from playing to the rafters — which, by the by, the room felt smaller this year — he sat on stage for a chunk of his monologue, creating a low-key intimacy that made it all the more startling when he lowered the boom. He joked-but-not-really about being asked to host because he’s Black, by a producer who he said was hired for the same reason, to be “the Black face of a White embattled organization.” His most publicized line: “I won’t say they were a racist organization, but they didn’t have a single Black member until George Floyd died. Do with that what you will.” And the audience didn’t, in fact, seem to know what to do it. From home, it looked like the air left the room, as a bunch of smiling, tense celebs panicked about whether laughing was supportive of his point, or disrespectful to the larger problem. It was much sharper provocation than what Gervais used to do, and honestly, whether you personally think any of it landed or not, I think his opening monologue met the moment well. He wasn’t up there pretending none of this was happening, he called out the fact that he was probably a pawn in a largely cosmetic rehabilitation of the Globes, and he did it with a really smooth, relaxed delivery. It felt very, “You and I both know what’s going on here, but admit it, you’d take the money, too,” and at one point he did even talk about asking a friend’s advice and having that friend screech that he should absolutely do it for the cash.

From there, and in the proud award show tradition, it was a very up-and-down evening for him. At one point, he emerged cradling three Globes, joking that he’d found the ones Tom Cruise returned, and that maybe they could send them back in exchange for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige (the wife of Scientology head David has not been seen publicly in… eons). I’m all for picking at Scientology. But the Internet was substantially less enamored of him callingthe Beverly Hilton “the hotel that killed Whitney Houston,” and his Rock Hudson/Will Smith/performative masculinity joke missed completely.

What did you think? Personally, I’m in favor of hostless shows. Have an opener, sure, but then let that person sit down and chill and bring on the presenters another way (an announcer, a chyron… most people watching these shows know who the celebrities are, anyway). It takes the pressure off having to write QUITE so much patter, and it doesn’t center the show on any one particular person. But I guess, much as when you do use a host, you still need to do it well.

[Photos: Earl Gibson III/Shutterstock]